Two veterans of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ political operation are departing his presidential campaign to work with an outside group that will focus on boosting the Florida Republican in his race for the White House.
The departing individuals are Dave Abrams, who previously led and later advised DeSantis’ communications team, and Tucker Obenshain, who has aided DeSantis’ fundraising efforts. Abrams and Obenshain are husband and wife.
Their exit, which was first reported by Politico, comes as DeSantis has struggled to gain traction in polls against former President Donald Trump. DeSantis failed to see a bump in his support after joining the race and his campaign has stalled in second – comfortably ahead of the rest of the field but well behind Trump. Donors and Republican operatives have publicly voiced concern about his operation and encouraged a change of approach.
In a statement confirming the staff moves, DeSantis spokesman Andrew Romeo said: “The more people hear and see Governor DeSantis and his forward-thinking vision to fix Joe Biden’s failures, the better our path to victory. Governor DeSantis will be appearing at events with dozens of organizations celebrating his policy and leadership. The ‘DeSantis is everywhere’ tour has begun.”
The change in staff was closely guarded, as is typical for DeSantis, who keeps a tight circle and has moved on from staff in the past without warning. As of Thursday, several people close to DeSantis’ political operation were not aware that Abrams and Obenshain were on their way out.
A phone call to Abrams was not immediately returned.
The pair joined DeSantis as he looked to build out his political operation midway through his first term as governor. They took on significant roles during his reelection last year, when DeSantis broke fundraising records en route to a 19-point victory.
It was not immediately clear the purpose of the outside organization that the pair will now assist, and DeSantis’ campaign did not respond to further questions. DeSantis has already relied heavily on outside political groups, including a super PAC, Never Back Down, that has handled much of the campaign work, along with And to the Republic, a non-profit that hosted many of his book tour events.